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ANES Announcement: Joint Study Linking General Social Survey and American National Election Studies Now Available

April 15, 2022

Two of the largest and most influential datasets in the fields of sociology and political science can now be studied together, expanding the possibilities for innovative research

Data released today make combining the General Social Survey (GSS) and American National Election Studies (ANES) possible for the first time. The datasets, both collected in 2020 and 2021, can be used together to study Americans’ reported social views alongside political preferences and changes in society before and after the 2020 U.S. election. Social scientists will be able to investigate aspects of COVID-19 concerns, loneliness, police interactions with communities and ethnic groups, voting, and more.

“Linking the GSS data to the ANES opens up unprecedented opportunities for researchers. There are almost 1,200 cases that have information on three points over time: namely, information collected in either 2016 or 2018, information collected a few months before the 2020 presidential election, and information collected immediately after the election,” said René Bautista, director of the GSS and associate director in the Methodology & Quantitative Social Science department at NORC at the University of Chicago. “We are releasing this now because we needed a little bit of time after the GSS panel data was released to ensure we protected the confidentiality of our participants and for our researcher partners (ANES) to develop survey weights for analysis. With that completed, we are excited to make these data available to everybody interested in understanding and reflecting on the social challenges impacting our lives.”

The ANES-GSS 2020 Joint Study is a joint venture of the GSS and the ANES and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation. The original plan for the study was to conduct the GSS using traditional in-person survey methods that the GSS has employed since it began in 1972. GSS respondents would then participate in ANES pre-election and post-election surveys conducted on the web. However, the COVID-19 pandemic altered that plan significantly.

“To adapt to the pandemic, both the ANES and GSS suspended face-to-face interviews and moved data collections online,” said Matthew DeBell, director of Stanford Operations for the ANES and senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences. “The schedule for the GSS changed, so we were not able to conduct pre-election ANES interviews with GSS participants, but the GSS serves as a kind of pre-election wave, and the follow-up with the same survey participants in the ANES right after the 2020 election provides a trove of political variables for the GSS dataset, or a trove of sociological variables for the ANES dataset, depending on where you sit. It’s a cross-disciplinary smorgasbord.”

About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers trust. As a nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we partner with government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.

About the ANES
The ANES is a joint project of the University of Michigan and Stanford University, in association with Duke University and the University of Texas at Austin. For over 70 years, the ANES has conducted nationally representative surveys that serve as a barometer of American democracy and have been the basis for leading research in political science and allied disciplines.